Comic-Con: ‘The Expendables’ Was a Massive Pain to Make

Wow, “The Expendables” is violent. Wow, it's stars are charming. And wow, it sounds like it sucked to make it

To hear the stars of "The Expendables" tell it, that movie was one painful sonofabitch to make.

The footage they showed at Comic-Con on Thursday in Hall H would bear that out.

Outside the bone-breaking, innard-splattering effects that we just saw, there was a lot of good, old-fashioned punching and body-slamming in this film — and according to Sylvester Stallone, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Dolph Lundgren and Terry Crews, it really, really hurt. Really.

Stallone suffered a broken neck. Austin was nearly knocked flat by a too-early explosion. The bricks they impacted were actual bricks.

"The Expendables" is kind of the ultimate Lionsgate film, a schlockfest actioner on actual steroids, human growth hormone and probably a host of other performance-enhancing drugs.

And to a man, it looks awesome.

By "to a man" I mean literally — to a MAN — as in, this film has a very narrow appeal. I heard it called "Sex and the City" for guys (I'd credit whoever said that first if I could remember who it was), and that's just precisely what it is. You see it, you cheer it, you love it, all out of a sense of obligation to your gender, to your past, to everything that's wrong with America.

(It's going up against "Eat, Pray, Love" at the box office. Good luck with that, Julia.)

Credit to Stallone. He put together a cast that's so outrageous, so over-the-top, that it won't really matter how good or bad the movie is. Because that's not the point.

"He made it as a valentine to action films, to the fans," Crews said.

That is one bloody valentine. And it could've been even more stuffed with aging action stars if things had gone differently.

"I talked to Van Damme. I talked to Segal. I even talked to Chuck Norris," said Stallone, who was relaxed and funny and clearly in fighting trim. "But there are certain considerations, like … insanity."

Insanity, or self-preservation?

Josh Dickey is tweeting like crazy from Comic-Con at http://twitter.com/JoshDickey. And he asks you: Who is more foolish — the fool, or the fool who follows him?